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Foundation donates lifesaving device to Fox Tucson Theatre

Downtown's Fox Tucson Theatre and St. Augustine Catholic High School on Tucson's East Side received Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) from a local foundation this week.

The AED is a simpler, portable, pillow-sized version of the defibrillator cart found in a hospital setting. Its purpose is to shock the heart into a normal rhythm after cardiac arrest.

The Steven M. Gootter Foundation installed the lifesaving devices at both the Fox and St. Augustine High and arranged for training from doctors and professionals at the University of Arizona's Sarver Heart Center.

 "We’re committed to educating the public about sudden cardiac death, funding scientific research and providing AED’s whenever possible,” said Gootter Foundation spokeswoman Claudine Messing.

“Every year, more than 335,000 Americans die from sudden cardiac arrest.  Since most people don’t have any warning signs, the key to survival is responding quickly and initiating the chain of survival, including chest-compression-only CPR and the use of an AED.”

The donation to the Fox Theatre is in honor of Dr. Gulshan Sethi and Neelam Sethi, who are longtime Tucson residents and philanthropic supporters of local charities, including the Fox Theatre, where they produce the popular Bollywood at the Fox and BollyKids events.

The Steven M. Gootter Foundation was formed by the friends and family of Steve Gootter, a 42-year-old father of two who lost his life to sudden cardiac death on Feb. 10, 2005. 

The foundation’s mission is to save lives by defeating sudden cardiac death through increased awareness, education and scientific research.  They have partnered with the University of Arizona's Sarver Heart Center to fund scientific research into the causes and prevention of sudden cardiac death. 

The Foundation has donated more than 40 AEDs to Arizona schools, churches and recreational centers.

Even though AEDs are becoming increasingly accessible in public places such as airports, convention centers and shopping malls, schools and non-profit venues often lack the funding to acquire a defibrillator or the resources necessary for training and overseeing their use and maintenance. The devices cost about $3,000 each.

For more information on Sudden Cardiac Death and the Steven M. Gootter Foundation, visit the website at

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